Robert Smith

OCHA, Chief, Partnerships Coordination Section  

Robert Smith heads OCHA’s global strategic partnerships with Member States and other humanitarian actors, in order to foster better, more effective and more inclusive humanitarian action. Previously he was Head of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat’s Geneva office, leading the Summit preparations in Europe, and Chief of OCHA’s Common Humanitarian Action Planning Section, which coordinated strategic humanitarian response plans and monitoring for the major humanitarian crises.  Before joining OCHA, he worked with Oxfam, CARE, IRC, WaterAid and other NGOs in emergencies and development for 10 years, mostly in Africa (DR Congo, Mali, Mozambique, Zambia, Congo-Brazzaville and Angola, plus Brazil).  He completed a PhD in Development Studies at the University of London, with original research on land tenure issues, and has published three peer-reviewed articles in top social-science journals.  He comes originally from Boston, USA.


OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.

OCHA’s mission is to:

  • Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
  • Advocate the rights of people in need.
  • Promote preparedness and prevention.
  • Facilitate sustainable solutions.